The thyroid is one of the most important glands in the body. Thyroid hormones affect every cell in the body. Therefore, conditions or diseases that impact the thyroid’s ability to secrete thyroid hormones affect utilization of thyroid hormones, can cause widespread dysfunction and symptoms.
Excerpt from Thyroid 101.
A growing portion of the United States is unknowingly suffering from a thyroid-related disease. Being aware of the many conditions that affect thyroid function can help individuals identify the underlying cause of their symptoms and take the appropriate steps to treat it.
Hypothyroidism is the most common type of thyroid disease, most often going undetected by standard blood tests. The condition occurs when there is not enough thyroid hormone present in the cells. This can be caused by poor hormone production, improper conversion of T4 to T3, increased reverse T3 and, most commonly, poor transport of thyroid hormones. Causes of hypothyroidism include the removal of the thyroid gland, exposure to toxins, excess iodide, iodine deficiency, selenium deficiency, aging, chronic illness, obesity and the autoimmune condition known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (Autoimmune Hypothyroidism)
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is the one of the most common causes of hypothyroidism, but usually goes undetected or mistreated. Women are significantly more likely to have Hashimoto’s and it is most common between the ages of 45 and 65. Studies show, however, that most cases of Hashimoto’s are not able to be detected by blood work – only the worst of the worst test positive.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis involves the production of thyroid antibodies that attack thyroid gland proteins resulting in inflammation or the destruction of thyroid cells and reduced hormone production. As the thyroid continues to fall under assault, pockets of thyroid hormone are released into the bloodstream. This can cause temporary spikes in thyroid levels resulting in symptoms more commonly associated with hyperthyroidism. Eventually, the thyroid can become too damaged to produce appropriate hormone levels resulting in irreversible hypothyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism is on the opposite end of the spectrum regarding thyroid dysfunction. It is estimated that there are between 3 and 10 million individuals suffering from overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism. Increased production of T3 and T4 results in accelerated metabolic function which can cause a wide range of symptoms and the body to burn nutrients faster than it should. Hyperthyroidism frequently causes extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, anxiety and insomnia following states of high energy.
Graves’ Disease (Autoimmune Hyperthyroidism)
Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition involving increased production of thyrotropin receptor antibody (TRAb). This antibody latches on to thyroid receptors known as thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI). Once bound together, the thyroid is stimulated to release additional T4 resulting in a surplus. Thyrotropin receptor antibody (TRAb) can mimic various pituitary hormones that further promote thyroid hormone production.
Awareness Leads to Wellness
With a broad understanding of the many common thyroid conditions and how they impact your health, it is easy to see why it is important to protect and support thyroid function. However, it is not enough to simply be aware of the threat of thyroid disease. Recognizing symptoms and dysfunction is imperative to keep the thyroid functioning at its best. Learn more about these diseases and what you can do about them in our FREE Thyroid 101 e-book.
At Holtorf Medical Group our physicians are trained to recognize each of these diseases, and provide you with cutting-edge testing and innovative treatments to find the answers you deserve. We’ll also create a treatment plan that is personalized to your specific condition. If you are currently experiencing these thyroid-related symptoms, give us a call at 877-508-1177 to see how we can help you!